By now you and your colleagues have transitioned from working from home as an emergency to regular practice. What will you learn from your experience over the past 10 months? How can the work-from-home practices you’ve adopted strengthen your organization’s culture and brand?
At Mission Minded our team has been working remotely since our founding in 2002. We know the many benefits and have overcome most obstacles, using the same tools you’re likely using today.
So we know that the big opportunity is thinking not so much about productivity, but about how you can stoke your organization’s values, culture and brand even when you’re not in the same building. When your values are alive, your work thrives.
Here are 3 ways we live our values without being in the same office. What ideas does this spark for how your organization can bring your own values to life?
In a traditional office you have ample time to connect with colleagues around the proverbial water cooler or actual coffee pot. At Mission Minded Slack has been a great tool for allowing social connection that leads to a connected team. One of our values at Mission Minded is to improve, always, and another is to live fully.
So we have a channel called #WaterCooler where we share photos, make each other laugh, or ask for random advice. When our web developer Adam gives his dog his annual birthday hamburger, we all get to see the video. And our #WhatsCooking channel is where we share recipes with each other. (Yes, including tasty new cocktails.)
We also learn from each other through channels like #DiversityEquityInclusion where we share resources like this for becoming communicators who actively avoid using language that inadvertently reinforces negative racial and ethnic stereotypes. And our Facilitation channel is where we swap best practices for leading successful client meetings.
Another of our values at Mission Minded is to stay curious. Each week we ask a curiosity question that those who chose to answer do so with a drawing, video, photo, poem or whatever comes to them. We meet during a 30-minute-or-less Zoom where we foster a sense of creative risk-taking. Past curiosity questions include “What’s the ugliest holiday sweater you’ve ever seen or worn?”, “What does hope in 2021 look like to you?”, and “What reminds you of Autumn?” These simple questions yield a sense of lightness and connection. And the fact that it’s purely voluntary means it doesn’t add undue pressure on those having a busy week.
We start ours with a warm-up question that gives us a chance to learn about each other and connect more deeply over Zoom. This supports our values of fostering optimism, living fully, and championing each other. Some questions, like “What is something you regret doing and hope never to repeat?” lead to serious discussions. Others, like, “What’s the worst haircut you ever had?”, “When is the last time you did something new?” and “Who would be your first guest if you had your own talk show?” lead to a lot of fun and laughter.
Instead of feeling like hokey team-building exercises, we’ve found these practices help build each one of us up, feel more connected to each other, and stoke a strong culture. This, we know, helps strengthen our brand and better serve our clients.
What can you do with your values to create a successful work from home culture, now and always? Leave your ideas in the comments below!
Related Content: How to Maintain Your Brand in Virtual Meetings
Jennie Winton is a Founding Partner of Mission Minded, a 25-year marketing veteran sought for her expertise in branding nonprofit organizations, and a one-on-one impact coach.
See all posts by Jennie Winton